He Said, She Said

My Flash Fiction Piece “He Said, She Said” which was WritersType.com’s Monthly Winner for April 2012, and was published in the third issue of Corvus Magazine.

He Said, She Said

By Logan Rees

 

            “What did you say?” she said.

He said, “I said nothing.”

I said nothing.

She said, “I said, ‘what did you say?’”

“I said, ‘I said nothing,’” he said.

I said nothing.

“I heard what you said,” she said.

“You heard me say I said nothing?” he said. “Or you heard what I said before you asked me what I said?”

I tried to say something. “What’s with all the ‘he said, she said?’”  I shouldn’t have said that.

“Fuck you!” they said, pretty much in unison.

He, she, and I all said nothing for a while.  The guy on the T.V. was saying that someone was saying that someone famous was saying something about someone else, who is also famous, I think.  I wasn’t really paying attention to the T.V.

This was all happening at my apartment, unfortunately.  If it were happening anywhere besides my apartment I would have left wherever it was happening and gone somewhere else, like my apartment.  This happens everywhere though.  If they’re together anywhere, they’ll find something to argue about.

“I’m sorry,” he said

She said, “For what?

“For what I said,” he said.

She said it was okay, in so many words.  I think she apologized too, but I can never tell what she means when she talks.  There’s always, what do you call it, subtext.

Obviously I said nothing.  But I was thinking something.  Something I can’t even remember right now, but I remember thinking at the time that it was something really significant.  It probably wasn’t, but whatever.  I felt like you should know I had a thought.  Christ, what was I thinking?

“You know, I was thinking,” he said.  “I was thinking we could…” He stopped. “Nevermind,” he started, then mumbled something under his breath.

“What did you say?” she said.

He said, “I said nothing.”

I said nothing, and then it started all over again.  I don’t know if the conversation went exactly the same, I stopped listening, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

“Why are you doing this with him here?”

He looked at me.

“I can go,” I said.

They said nothing.

I walked into my bedroom and closed the door.  All I could hear of their conversation through the walls was muffled shouts.  I grabbed my iPod and shoved the headphones in my ear.  In half a second their shouts were drowned out by melodies and harmonies.  The singer was shouting something at me, but I wasn’t listening.  It wasn’t important anyway.  The only thing that made any sense to me right then was the pounding of the music in my ear.  I closed my eyes and let my mind wander.  The music filled my head with images.  Images of joy and peace.  Images without words to soil them.  Just fuzzy memories of feelings or thoughts.

Then the images stopped.  The music had cut out.  I looked at my iPod.  The numbers were still running, but no noise was coming out.  Piece of shit broke again.  I pulled the headphones out and threw it on the bed.  It landed silently on the soft sheets.  Then I realized the shouts from the other room had stopped.

I went to the door, grabbed the doorknob, and stopped dead.  I think that’s when I first noticed it.  I let go of the doorknob and grabbed it again, harder.  Same thing.  It didn’t make a sound.  I started breathing heavy, but couldn’t hear the air enter or leave my lungs.  I cocked my hand behind my head and slammed it flat against the door as hard as I could.  Nothing.

I flung the door open to find her with both hands on her throat and her mouth wide open, feeling for vibrations as she shouted silent words.  He was in the kitchen banging pots and pans together in futile attempts to make sound.  The guy on the T.V. was fumbling nervously with his earpiece and lapel microphone.

Her eyes, filled with tears, met mine, and she mouthed what could have been, “What’s going on?”

He emerged from the kitchen with one of my green ceramic bowls in his hand.  He opened his mouth in what probably would have been a maniacal scream, raised the bowl over his head, and marched toward the window.  She and I both yelled for him to stop, but to no avail.  The bowl went flying through the window, breaking the glass without a sound.  He buckled to his knees and grabbed two handfuls of his own hair.

Out the window, people in cars pressed their hands against their steering wheels but no car horns sounded.  T.V.s and computer monitors fell from windows above mine and smashed silently on the ground.  A man broke the noiseless glass of a store window, and a muted gunshot put him on his back.

I looked back in my apartment to find his head arched back, his mouth flailing, shouting words he knew no one could hear.  Words he wanted no one to hear.  Words just to bring his mind peace.  Words to let his anger out.  To regain his sanity.

And then, out of nowhere, he said, “…and I fuck other women!”

Car horns and gunshots and indistinguishable screams poured in from out the window.

“What did you say?” she said.

The guy on the T.V. was saying something about not panicking and finding an explanation.

He said, “I said nothing.”

The sound of an explosion came from out the window.

I said nothing.

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